Re: SIGATW in 1 Cor 14:34

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Tue Jul 01 1997 - 03:56:06 EDT


I read your article in BibSac. Thanks. Did you catch my post recently
to the list regarding 2 Thess 2:6? I thought I'd probably hear from you
on it. Nobody else even bit. Oh well, maybe there was not much
interest. Anyhow, its good to hear from you again (fellow DTSer). I
interact below.

On Tue, 1 Jul 1997 00:35:55 -0400 (EDT) writes:
>I've been following this thread with great interest and I wanted to
>throw in
>my two sense worth. Concerning 1 Cor 11:4-5 and the negative
>inference. Let's
>look at it a little differently.
>Let A= the man who prays or prophecies--main proposition
>Let A'= the woman who prays or prophecies--main proposition
>Let B= with head covered-- attendant circumstance
>Let C= shames his head--consequence
>! Cor 11:4 is "any man who prays or prophecies with his head covered
>his head," thus the equation A + B = C
>1 Cor 11:5 is "any women who prays or prophecies with her head
>shames her head," thus the equation A' + not B = C
>The question is "Is the negative inference a valid assumption in this
>context. It seems that Paul does assume that A + not B = not C is a
>inference. The man who prays or prophecies with his head uncovered
>does not
>shame his head. This seems to be valid from the logic and manner of
>argumentation as well as extra-contextual considerations (cf. 1 Tim
>Second, it seems that the issue is not simply the problem of head
>absolutely, but the problem of head covering while praying and
>If the problem was head covering absolutely, why is the discussion
>purely in
>terms of praying and prophesying. The problem isn't the main
>proposition; it
>is the attendant circumstances to the main proposition that Paul makes
>issue. Given these considerations as well as extra-contextual
>(cf. Acts 21:9), it seems that A' + B = not C (the woman who prays or
>prophesies with her head covered does not shame her head) is a valid

Technically, your notation is not quite right. The way you have it makes
it a bi-conditional (if and only if a man prays or prophesies with his
head covered, then he shames his head), rather than a conditional (if a
man prays or prophesies with his head covered, then he shames his head;
same as, 'every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered, shames
his head). There is a significant difference.

Secondly, the negation is never a valid inference. Now, the negation may
be true, but it is not true by inference. We cannot infer it. That is a
basic rule of logic. If it is true, we must know it to be true by
statement here or elsewhere. Otherwise, it is only guess work.

I would agree that the first negation is true, i.e., that if a man prays
or prophesies with his head uncovered, then he does not shame his head.
It is true, because by prescription men are instructed elsewhere to pray
or prophesy, certainly in the church.

But, are we to conclude because the negation for men is true, then so it
must be true here for the women? No. Where in scripture are women
instructed to pray or prophesy in the church? In fact, it could be
argued that they are forbidden to teach or authority over the men (1 Tim
2:12-14), or even to speak (1 Cor 14).

You say or conclude that the main issue here is not that women were
praying or prophesying, but that they were doing so with their heads
uncovered. That may be the case, but that does not prove or demonstrate
that their praying or prophesying in the assembly was right in itself,
just that when it was done with heads uncovered, then it shamed their
heads. He says nothing here about their praying or prophesying with
their heads covered, whether that was right or wrong. That is the point.

We cannot and we must not infer the negation. Paul reasons like this
often. In 1 Cor 7:8 he say a woman should not leave her husband. Then
in verse 9 he say, but if she does leave, then let her remain unmarried.
Should we infer from v. 9, that Paul approves or condones of women
leaving their husbands. He does assume she has left here. But, he does
not approve of it, as revealed in v. 8.

We've got to be careful not to say things scripture does not say or does
not imply. The negation cannot be inferred and must not be affirmed.
Check Calvin's comments on this (in his commentary).

I'll have to stop here for now. 12:53 am. Yawn.


Paul Dixon

>Also there is the issue with the referent EXOUSIAN in 1 Cor 11:10:
>EXOUSIAN refer to the woman's husband's authority or to her own
>The latter seems better for several reasons: (1) EXOUSIAN normally
>refers to
>one's own authority and everywhere else in 1 Corinthians it does refer
>one's own authority (cf. 6:12; 7:4, 37; 8:9; 9:4-5, 12, 18; 15:24).
>Verses 11-12 seem to elevate the role of the woman and guard against
>being regarded as inferior thus supporting v. 10 as referring to the
>authority of the woman. (3) It is argued that the sign shows her
>authority as
>a high creature who rules creation with her husband. (4) If the sign
>submission, how can it be called a sign of authority? (5) It seems
>complicated in view of the normal use of EXOUSIA to see the sign as a
>recognition of the woman's full role in creation as defined in
>from man, as a fellow vice-regent, yet help meet. (7) DIA TOUTO in v.
>seems to support the presence of this thought in v. 10. The use of the
>shows her recognition of this position of distinction within creation
>as a
>significant creature of God (v. 12) alongside but different from man
>(cf. vv.
>11-12). The stress of the sign is one acknowledging the distinction
>men and women in creation while asserting the woman's right to
>actively in worship. It is the woman's authority that is asserted as
>creature and man's helpmeet. Thus answers posited in a submission
>seem to miss Paul's point which is to elevate the woman, while
>the differentiations in the creation of man an woman. The point of v.
>seems to be that the woman is obligated to wear a sign of authority in
>recognition of her high but distinctive role in creation, where she
>has a
>distinct role and identity from the man, which is not to be blurred
>the Creator God, nor to offend the angels who observe worship.
>Now to 1 Cor 14:34-35. My comment is brief. It seems to me that the
>of SIGATWSAN is to the judging of the prophecies and prophets
>mentioned in
>the immediate context (11:29-33).
>Charles Powell

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